Key Findings on Diversity and Inclusion from the 2022 Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2022 Image

Results from the third iteration of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey (2022)—conducted by the Mellon Foundation and Ithaka S+R in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors – were released earlier this month. The results shed light on the representation and diversity within art museum staff across North America. The survey collected data from 328 museums and analyzed the demographics of over 30,000 individuals working in the field.

Here are some important takeaways from the survey that can help Ohio’s museums continue to be among the strongest in the United States.

Growing Diversity: The survey shows a continued, moderate increase in people of color (POC) across all museum roles. While there has not been a significant increase in Black staff overall, the number of Black staff in museum leadership has more than doubled since 2015.

Gender Ratios: The gender ratios have remained consistent since 2015, with approximately 40% male and 60% female staff. However, female employees constitute a large majority (over 75%) in intellectual leadership positions, and their representation in museum leadership has increased from 58% in 2015 to 66% in 2022.

Staffing Bounces Back: The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant reductions in hiring among some diverse departments, but museums have since increased staffing in areas such as security, facilities, and education.

Retention Rates: Staff retention will be crucial in maintaining current levels of diversity in the field. Museums rebounding from the pandemic have shown greater diversity in hiring practices, but retaining diverse staff will be essential for continued progress.

Prioritizing DEAI: More museum directors now prioritize diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) issues. Providing a livable wage, ensuring pay equity, and increasing representational diversity among museum staff and leadership are seen as high priorities.

What Ohio museums can do:

While the survey reveals progress in diversifying art museum staff, there is still work to be done. The representation of POC, particularly in leadership positions, remains limited.

​Ohio’s museums should continue to invest in recruiting and hiring indigenous cultural workers and address the underrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic groups. Additionally, efforts should focus on retaining diverse staff across all roles to maintain and build on the increased diversity achieved through recent hiring practices.

This survey provides valuable insights into the representation and diversity within art museum staff, and the findings highlight the need for continued efforts to ensure equitable hiring practices and increased diversity in leadership positions. ​By addressing these challenges, Ohio’s art museums can become more inclusive and reflective of the diverse communities they serve.

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